Southworth Products Corporation, a global manufacturer of ergonomic material handling equipment provided more detail Wednesday (Jan. 6) on the expansion of a manufacturing facility in Manila, Ark.
The company plans to invest $935,000 in the plant where it will create approximately 35 new jobs.
“As we move into 2016, Southworth has just completed its 125th year in business and its 36th year of focusing its manufacturing operations in Manila, Arkansas,” said Southworth CEO Brian McNamara. “Since moving a couple of product lines down from the Northeast in 1979 into an existing 10,000 square foot facility, we have steadily increased our local footprint to well over 150,000 square feet and now conduct all North American production in Mississippi County, Arkansas.”
The expansion is a result of an increase in demand for the company’s existing products in addition to the launch of several new products. Through the expansion, Southworth will upgrade its facility to add two new assembly lines and better separate the company’s shipping from production operations.
“Southworth’s ability to change with the times has helped maintain the company’s status as a leader in its industry for 125 years,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson said in a statement. “The company’s diversified product line and strong management team, combined with Mississippi County’s skilled workforce, have created a recipe for success.”
Headquartered in Falmouth, Maine, the original Southworth company was founded in 1890 as an auxiliary equipment supplier to the printing industry. In the 1920s, the company expanded to include an engine assembly division that built fire trucks for towns in New England. During World War II, the company added aerospace in support of the war effort to its graphic arts and engine building product offerings. Then after acquiring Southworth in 1977, new ownership seeking a more centralized location for the company’s nationwide market, first moved some manufacturing from Maine to Arkansas. Southworth now maintains four production facilities in Mississippi County where it employs 140 people.